Digital clutter and photographic collages

001   A5 collage created from magazine images.

My current obsession with collage has me buying second hand copies of magazines I wouldn’t normally read.  I buy the magazines because I am attracted to the imagery but I often find I read the attached articles.   Yesterday I read an article about clearing your clutter in a back copy of Cleo.   As well as instructions on how to clear the clutter in your house there was information about how digital clutter can clutter up your mind.   The focus was on clearing out your email inbox and your Facebook News Feed but it made me think about how my mind often feels cluttered because of  the extraordinary amount of information I absorb when I go online and check my Facebook page, my WordPress Reader and my email accounts.  Beyond that there is the background ‘noise’ of all the old document folders I no longer need and the thousands of digital photos I have stored on my computer, tablet and phone. 

I made the collage I’ve posted here to express how all this digital information sometimes makes me feel.   The face came from an illustration about being connected that I found in a computer magazine.  The words below the face came from article on clutter and I added the words at the top of the image at the end.  They came from an ad for cosmetics.

The background image came from a photography magazine.   It is the work of a Japanese photographer, Sohei Nishino and is an example of the photographic collages he assembles over a period of months.  He creates them printing out thousands of photos he takes as he explores the cities of the world.  His constructed images are not cartographically accurate but instead record his solitary experience of being in  these cities.  You can find more examples of his work here and here.  

Nishino’s work is well worth taking a look at.   It intrigues and inspires me.   Looking at his complex map making I realise there is no way I am going to attempt to make anything similar but perhaps there is some way I can clear the backload of photos on my computer by creating photo montages that somehow reflect my experience of the world.   I’m not sure how I will go about this though.   As a way into the project I opened my folder titled ‘phone and tablet images’ on my computer.   Luckily there were only five photos in this folder as most of these images are stored on my phone and tablet.  Working in Photoshop Elements with the ones on my computer I came up this.   I only used three photos in the process.   I decided the other two were rubbish and discarded them.  


I have now deleted that particular file and kept the collage in file titled ‘art – digital’ (not a very effect file label by the way).   The image doesn’t go very far in –

a) sorting out my backlog of images  

b) mapping the spaces I inhabit

c) recording my response to experience.  

It is merely a pretty picture of one day last spring when I went I visited an historic coastal town.

I’m obviously going to have to think about this project in greater depth.   I found making the collage about how I feel about my digital clutter more fun than making the digital collage  but that’s probably because the computer screen is giving me sore eyes at present.   I think I will print out some thumbnail images of photos from a particular locality and see where that takes me.  

Sally D has titled her iphonegraphy challenge for this week Hope in a photographic puzzle.   While Sally is referring to hope in these troubled political times I have linked this post to her challenge for, even though it remains an elusive goal, I have hope that sorting out my digital clutter will go some way towards restoring my peace of mind. 


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